2.2.2 Sign Languages
Throughout history and around the world, deaf people have naturally developed sign languages, a creative alternative to a sensory limitation. That has created certain cultural and linguistic values associated to the sign language of each country. For a great number of deaf people sign language is their mother tongue, placing the oral and written language as a second language.
In Spain, sign language has been discriminated against for many years, forbidden in the classrooms. Most deaf people attended schools where sign language was forbidden, and only acquired that communication tool much later, which affected their personal development and social participation.
The European Council, on the 1st of April 2003, urged its member states to recognize sign language officially as the main tool towards the complete social integration of European deaf people. Currently, the European countries that have recognized their respective sign languages are: Finland, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Germany, Portugal and Spain, where the demands of the CNSE were finally acknowledged with the approval of the Law 27/2007, by which Spanish sign languages are recognized and the means of support for oral communication for the deaf, hearing impaired and deaf-blind are regulated.
The Centre for Linguistic Normalization of Spanish Sign Language (CNLSE) was founded on the 21st of December 2010, in compliance with the Law 27/2007, according to which the Spanish sign languages are recognized and the means of support for oral communication for the deaf, hearing impaired and deaf-blind are regulated. The CNLSE is public and it is a part of the Royal Board of Disability.
Its goal is to work on the normalization of Spanish sign language, providing a space for reference and diffusion that ensures its proper use and contributes to guaranteeing the rights of the people who use this language, as well as promoting research in the area.
- How to Learn Sign Language:
There are courses on Communication in Sign Language, both Spanish and Catalan. There are three levels (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced)
These courses, addressed both to deaf and hearing people, as well as to entities who ask for it, can be face to face or online.
For more information, you can contact the Federation, or the association for the deaf closest to you. You can also get information at the Fundación CNSE.